Rights Of Citizenship

This past week my thoughts have often lingered upon some very dear friends; a pastor and his wife. A shock to all who knew him, this pastor died last week from a massive heart attack. Naturally, tears have come to his family, church family, other relatives, and friends, but what has stayed with me this week, is the fact that peace has come, too.

The world gives a type of peace. We know that because Jesus once said to His disciples that He would give them peace, but not like the world’s peace. The world’s peace is based on circumstance. The peace of Jesus is based on relationship with Him. When we choose Jesus and all He has to offer, then we become citizens of heaven.

When we are citizen of a particular country, we are granted certain rights and privileges. It’s the same when we become citizens of heaven. Heavenly citizenship grants us the right to access God’s own peace — He will put that peace right into our hearts. When we are citizens of heaven, we have access to God’s own wisdom to guide us through all our days on earth. When we are citizens of heaven, all our needs are provided — all the comfort needed, the strength, courage, joy, and peace that never depends on circumstances.

It’s a wonderful thing that God’s peace never depends on anything but Himself. Circumstances are changing and passing. God never changes and He never leaves us. It stands to reason, then, that His peace is unchanging and steadfast, too.

Too often, I see that many Christians forget they are citizens of heaven. Therefore, they flounder around in their own strength when God’s perfect strength is available for the asking. They waste precious hours and even days trying to come up with a plan to get them out of their troubles, when God’s guidance is ready to lead them. All they have to do is seek for it and they will find it.

Whatever you’re going through this week and in the days and months and years to come; please don’t live merely like a citizen of the world. Think higher! Look up! As the Apostle Paul encouraged us in Philippians 1:27, “Above all, you must live as citizens of heaven, conducting yourselves in a manner worthy of the Good News about Christ.” Check your behavior in all your situations, and ask yourselves if you’re living like a citizen of the world, or are you living like a citizen of heaven, which is your spiritual birthright.

Because Of The Water

I visited my sister the other day, and she gave me a bouquet of red tulips. I gently laid them on the back seat of my car to take home. However, on the way I stopped somewhere for several hours. When I finally got home, and picked up my tulips, they did not appear very healthy. Taking them from the paper they were wrapped in, every tulip fell limp, literally hanging toward the floor.

My first sad thought was that I would have to simply throw them away; but they were a gift. I didn’t want to throw them away; therefore, with that thought in mind, I filled a vase with water and placed the tulips inside. The floppy stems bent all the way over causing the tulip heads to lay on the table. It was a very sad and sorry sight indeed. Nonetheless, I left them there.

The next morning when I walked into the kitchen to get my anticipated mug of coffee, I glanced in the living room, and then did a quick several steps back. I was absolutely flabbergasted at the sight before me! Every tulip in the vase was standing to attention, like soldiers ready for a marching parade! Unreserved joy pulsated in my veins and stretched a smile across my lips! I heard myself laugh out loud and audibly say, “I thought you were dead!” As if in answer, each tulip proudly remained tall and straight.

A smile stayed on my face for a long time after the, tulip gone from death to life, discovery. That’s when thoughts about the water stirred in my mind. The tulips could only be alive because of the water in the vase. They drank all night, and as the water rose in their stems, signs of glorious life appeared.

I thought of the conversation that Jesus had with the Samaritan woman at the well. He said to her in John 4:14, “The water I give takes away thirst altogether. It becomes a perpetual spring within, giving eternal life.” To those of us who have taken God’s gift of salvation, by receiving God’s love and forgiveness, only available to us because of Jesus paying the penalty for sin in our place; well, we too, were lifeless, perhaps nearly dying from our own attempts to give meaning to our lives. Then, along came Jesus, offering to us spiritual water from the well of His own life; water that would never dry up.

If there is anyone reading this who is searching for meaning in life; anyone who is feeling life just isn’t worth living anymore; anyone who is caught in an unbearable situation and can see no way out; then, take heart and take Jesus. Only He can give you a living drink of water that will heal your wounds and give you hope through all your days. Then, when life on this earth is over, it is only because we drank of His living water, that we have assurance of life in heaven for eternity. In that place, there will be no more tears or death or sorrow. It’s a beautiful place, and it’s available to all through receiving Jesus Christ.

Here is a glimpse of what awaits us who know Him. It’s recorded in Revelation 22:1-6
“And the angel showed me a pure river with the water of life, clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb, coursing down the center of the main street. On each side of the river grew a tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, with a fresh crop each month. The leaves were used for medicine to heal the nations. No longer will anything be cursed. For the throne of God and of the Lamb will be there, and His servants will worship Him. And they will see His face, and His name will be written on their foreheads. And there will be no night there — no need for lamp or sun — for the Lord God will shine on them. And they will reign forever and ever. Then the angel said to me, ‘The Lord God, who tells his prophets what the future holds, has sent his angel to tell you what will happen soon.'”

If you don’t know Jesus, it’s not too late. Call to Him now. Ask His forgiveness and He will forgive all. He will fill you with living water from which springs eternal life. Why wait? It’s a treasure chest waiting to be opened, but only you can take what is offered. I pray with the sending of this blog, that if you don’t personally know Jesus, that today you will drink of the water He is offering to you — and begin a new life!

Heavenly Mail

I heard the mailman at my door this morning so I went to see what had arrived.  There was an advertisement for pizza, another advertisement for a sale at a furniture store, and a white envelope.  I turned the envelope over and was just about to open it when I noticed something that stopped me — it wasn’t my name written on the front.  It was one of my neighbor’s names on the envelope.  The mailman has made a mistake and put someone else’s letter in with my mail.  No problem.  Mistakes happen.  I just walked over and put it through the letter slot of my neighbor’s door.

I kept thinking about the name written down that wasn’t mine.  I couldn’t claim the letter because my name, which would have identified me as the appointed one to receive the letter, wasn’t anywhere to be seen.  It was nothing to do with me.  The only claim on that white envelope belonged to my neighbor because it was her name written down — not mine.

That’s when I could feel my lips stretching into a big smile.  I got my Bible and searched for the verse I knew was in the book of Revelation.  Flipping through the pages, my smile grew even bigger when I found it:  Revelation 3:5 reads, “…I will never erase their names from the Book of Life, but  I will announce before my Father and His angels that they are mine.”

Isn’t that absolutely fantastic?  What a wonderful promise to those of us who have received Jesus as our Lord and Savior.  Our names are written in God’s own Book of Life and He will never erase our names — never!  What does that mean exactly?  It means that every person whose name is written down has eternal access to all the glories of heaven; if one’s name is written there, that person has permission to look upon the very face of Jesus.  If someone’s name is written in the Book of Life, that person has claim upon an eternity of perfect joy; a place where there are no more tears, no more pain, and no more death.

What relief, joy, excitement, and an immeasurable thankfulness to Jesus for what He did, making it absolutely possible to live with Him forever.  If your name is written in the Book of Life, then heaven is your destination.  One day you and I will be granted entrance.  It’s a certainty, like one’s name on a letter — the promise belongs to us.  Jesus wrote it down Himself!  No one can take it away.

I close with one more glorious promise to each one whose name is written down in God’s Book of Life: “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined what God has prepared for those who love Him.”  I Corinthians 2:9